Fusion GPS co-founders slam GOP's 'fake investigations'

The two co-founders of the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier are publicly pushing back against the Republican P...

Posted: Jan 3, 2018 6:39 PM
Updated: Jan 3, 2018 6:39 PM

The two co-founders of the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier are publicly pushing back against the Republican Party's handling of the investigation into the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russia.

The dossier, which began as an opposition research effort and became publicly known in early 2017, details Russian interference in the 2016 election and includes allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about President Donald Trump. Some of the dossier's most salacious allegations have not been corroborated by the intelligence community or CNN.

The Fusion GPS founders say they did not share the dossier with BuzzFeed

Simpson and Fritsch called on Congress to release transcripts of their testimony before congressional committees

Trump and his Republican allies have seized upon the disclosure late last year that law firm Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS -- which in turn hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele -- for the dossier on behalf of its clients, the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, arguing it shows the dossier is a Democratic effort to undermine Trump.

But in a New York Times op-ed titled "The Republicans' Fake Investigations" that was published Tuesday night, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch said they do not believe the dossier triggered the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling into the 2016 election, adding that their "sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump (campaign)."

Simpson and Fritsch called on Congress to release transcripts of their testimony before congressional committees. They also write that Congress has not been interested in their findings or calls for more investigation into Trump's financial interests.

On Wednesday, the office of Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, rejected Simpson and Fritsch's call to release the transcript of their lengthy interview with staff investigators, saying doing so would "taint" the memory of other witnesses and impact the ongoing investigation. A committee spokesman also criticized Fusion GPS for not answering follow-up questions and renewed calls on them to testify at a public hearing.

Fusion GPS remains under pressure from the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee -- and is tied up in a related court fight -- to turn over a larger portion of its financial records. Fusion says disclosing more of its clients and contractors would hinder its First Amendment rights, and if it loses the case, will see its business at risk.

After Fusion GPS commissioned Steele to assemble the dossier, Simpson and Fritsch said they were "shocked" with what he found.

"Mr. Steele's sources in Russia (who were not paid) reported on an extensive - and now confirmed - effort by the Kremlin to help elect Mr. Trump president," the op-ed says. "Mr. Steele saw this as a crime in progress and decided he needed to report it to the FBI."

They also say Steele shared the dossier with Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, through an emissary following the election. However, Simpson and Fritsch maintain that they did not share the dossier with BuzzFeed, which published the document in full during the presidential transition.

The broad assertion of the dossier findings -- that Russia waged a campaign to interfere in the election -- is now accepted as fact by the US intelligence community. CNN also reported last year that US investigators have corroborated some aspects of the dossier, specifically that some of the communications among foreign nationals mentioned in the memos did actually take place.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN Tuesday night that the dossier was not included as an "organic part" of the intelligence community's conclusions about Russian interference.

"I hadn't heard that when I left the movie about a year ago," Clapper, now a CNN analyst, said. "And, of course, our issue with the dossier is we could not, in the time we had, about a month to do the intelligence assessment that we finished on the sixth of January, did not have time to verify or validate the second or the third order sources that were being used to compile the 17 documents in the dossier."

Clapper also reiterated that the dossier did not launch the investigation into Russian interference in the election.

The Fusion GPS co-founders also said they learned about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Russians and the Trump campaign "from news reports last year" and claim these Russians were not Steele's sources, nor were they aware of his research.

Fritsch and Simpson said they "found widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10563104
Hinds10414204
Harrison7397113
Jackson6655128
Rankin6057107
Lee540396
Madison5120107
Forrest394786
Jones376188
Lauderdale3663147
Lafayette341053
Washington3321108
Lamar301950
Oktibbeha255262
Lowndes252867
Bolivar248084
Panola237353
Neshoba2280122
Marshall225051
Leflore211191
Monroe209778
Pontotoc208131
Lincoln200566
Sunflower194155
Warren183058
Tate180451
Union172926
Copiah170840
Pike166760
Scott161330
Yazoo161340
Itawamba159936
Alcorn159328
Pearl River158969
Coahoma155943
Prentiss154931
Simpson154053
Adams147252
Grenada145445
Leake141844
Holmes134461
Covington130040
Tippah130030
George129525
Winston128726
Hancock127641
Wayne123024
Attala122834
Marion121447
Tishomingo114043
Chickasaw110732
Newton110529
Tallahatchie99427
Clay96127
Clarke94853
Jasper87023
Stone82015
Calhoun79513
Walthall79330
Montgomery78426
Carroll75515
Lawrence74614
Smith74216
Yalobusha74228
Noxubee73317
Perry68726
Tunica63019
Greene62422
Jefferson Davis59617
Claiborne59216
Amite57615
Humphreys55219
Quitman5107
Benton50418
Kemper48018
Webster47714
Wilkinson40722
Jefferson38312
Choctaw3637
Franklin3635
Sharkey32917
Issaquena1214
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 256828

Reported Deaths: 3711
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34214511
Mobile20299366
Madison13925150
Tuscaloosa13591156
Montgomery12659238
Shelby1095877
Baldwin9163137
Lee792566
Morgan710851
Etowah677467
Calhoun6695121
Marshall665757
Houston548239
DeKalb504738
Cullman472043
St. Clair451857
Limestone447546
Lauderdale436054
Elmore427564
Walker3818111
Talladega374457
Jackson350723
Colbert336443
Blount310043
Autauga287342
Franklin259734
Coffee254115
Dale242054
Dallas232932
Chilton230841
Russell22813
Covington227934
Escambia206131
Tallapoosa189191
Chambers185950
Pike162214
Clarke161819
Marion146136
Winston141924
Lawrence135336
Pickens127720
Geneva12638
Marengo125224
Bibb123938
Barbour120629
Butler118842
Randolph105922
Cherokee105524
Hale99732
Fayette96316
Clay93525
Washington93319
Henry8946
Monroe83811
Lowndes82129
Cleburne79914
Macon76522
Crenshaw72930
Conecuh72414
Lamar7138
Bullock70919
Perry6927
Wilcox64918
Sumter58922
Greene44218
Choctaw43519
Coosa3724
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